Do You Have a Darkroom Photography Related Question That You Would Like Answered?

March 20, 2017  •  2 Comments

I thought it would be helpful and relevant if I included a Q&A Section in the Darkroom Underground publication.  If you have a question that you would like answered by one of our advisory board members, then send me an email with your question and we will review it for publication. 

We have a super-talented advisory board that loves to answer your questions, so don't hold back and we will do our best to provide a clear and detailed response. 


Tim Layton, founder, and editor - Tim has been creating artist original handmade pure platinum prints using traditional large format view cameras, sheet film, handmade papers, darkroom chemicals, and natural light for over 30 years. Tim Layton hosts a wide variety of workshops in the film and darkroom genre for analog photographers of all skill levels. "I make a humble attempt at taking my viewers on a visual and emotional journey away from the modern day digitized world by sharing my love for nature through the art and craft of traditional black and white fine art printmaking.  I make a humble attempt to create emotionally evocative handmade prints of significant natural and environmental subjects. The archival permanence properties of platinum ensure people one thousand years from now and beyond will be able to view these important subjects at the turn of the 21st century.  I get the added benefit of an incredibly long tonal scale with magnificent mid-tones and supple highlights that platinum prints are known for." -

Quinn Jacobson -  Quinn is an internationally recognized artist and teacher and his name is forever connected to wet plate collodion based on his tireless and original contribution to the arts.  "Photography was a part of Quinn's life from an early age. Both his mother and father were avid photographers. And both accomplished in their own right. 35mm still film, Polaroid film, and 8mm movie film were common in the Jacobson house. Every event was documented. He began his career as a photographer in the United States military in 1982. Quinn served in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman for three years (11C) and then as a Combat Photographer (84B) for three years (1982-1988). In 1993, he received a Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree (B.I.S.) in Photography, Visual Art and Communication from Weber State University, Ogden, Utah USA. In 2007, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree (M.F.A.) in Photography from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont USA.  -

Steve Anchell - Steve is internationally published with his fine artwork exhibited in galleries and private collections. Since his first exhibit in 1974, his work has been in sixty exhibits, including twenty-eight solo exhibits.

From 1970 to 1976 he owned a portrait and wedding studio, first in Los Angeles and then in San Luis Obispo, Calif. From 1977 to 1984 he operated a studio in Hollywood, California, which included as clients, Max Factor, Vivian Woodard, and Merle Norman cosmetics, IBM, Teledyne-Inet, Ohrbach’s Department Store, Wham-O Toys, Catalina Swimwear, and many others.  Agency accounts included Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB); Ogilvie & Mather (Ogilvie Group); Young & Rubicam (Y&R); and Evans/Weinberg.

Steve has written for Rangefinder and photo technique magazines and has been a contributing editor to Outdoor Photographer, Camera & Darkroom, and PhotoWork magazines.  He has written columns, feature articles and interviews for Shutterbug, View Camera, Camera Arts, PIC, and PhotoPro magazines. He is the former editor of Photovision: Art and Technique and Focus Fine Art Photography magazines.

His three books, The Darkroom Cookbook, The Variable Contrast Printing Manual, and The Film Developing Cookbook are international bestsellers.  Photo-Eye Books of Santa Fe named The Variable Contrast Printing Manual the best technical title of 1997.  In 2001 The Nude at Big Sur, was published by Cold Creek Press. Focal Press will release his fifth book, Digital Photo Assignments, on August 26, 2015.

Steve has conducted workshops since 1979, including workshops for the International Center of Photography in NYC, Santa Fe Workshops, Toscana Photographic Workshops (Italy), the Universities of California at Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Irvine, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Denver.

Bruce Barnbaum - Bruce is recognized as one of the finest darkroom printers on this planet, both through his exceptional black and white work and also through his color imagery. His work is represented by more than ten galleries throughout the United States and Canada and is in the collections of museums and private collectors worldwide. Bruce’s contributions, both technically and creatively, are effectively infinite because his contributions live on through his students and readers of his books.   

"Bruce's photography expands upon the dynamics he finds in both nature and the works of man, relating forces to the sweeping forms that dominate his vivid imagery. Visually he emphasizes the best of humanity and nature, sometimes with bold realism, often with degrees of abstraction to heighten the mystery. He understands light to an extent rarely found, and combines this understanding with a mastery of composition, applying them to an extraordinarily wide range of subject matter. His photographs often contain ambiguities concerning either the size of the scene photographed and/or its orientation, forcing the viewer to pause and think, and to become part of the creative process." - 

Jon Paul - Jon Paul has been Lake Tahoe’s premier landscape photographer for nearly 20 years. During that time, Jon has amassed a collector base spanning all 50 U.S. states and nearly 50 countries around the globe. As one of just a few professional large format film photographers remaining today, Jon Paul is known for producing some of the most breathtaking fine art landscape images available. The combination of Jon’s large format film capture, mastery of photographic technique and his unrivaled vision of the natural world has enabled Jon to create images worthy of representing what Jon refers to as “The Fine Art of Nature”. -

Paul Wainwright - Paul is a rare photographer because of his masterful mind and his ability to tell stories via his photographic art.  Paul earned a Ph.D. from Yale University and he worked for Bell Laboratories for nearly 25 years before pursuing his love for analog photography full time.  Paul's understanding of film speed and development is unparalleled and his ability to explain the details is a defining moment for many photographers.  

Wainwright's work has appeared in numerous juried competitions and solo exhibitions, most recently at the Baldwin Gallery at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Panopticon Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, the Mugar Art Gallery at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont.  Wainwright’s work is included in the permanent collections of both private and corporate collectors, including the Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham, New Hampshire. -

Mark Olwick - Mark is a fine art photographer specializing in seeing beyond the literal.  The overarching goal of his photography is to capture the spirit of his subject, including how he sees them in his dreams, and evoke the emotion around them. The creative process – diving deep into motivations, meaning, and symbolism – is at the heart of his photography.

He’s been taking photographs for more than 45 years, starting with a box Brownie and now shoots primarily with medium format gear, though that changes regularly in order to create the photo that was pre-visualized.

He’s been featured in On Landscape magazine and other publications, as well as fine art galleries, and is a medal winner at PX3, Prix de la Photographie Paris 2012.  You can find his work at

Steve Sherman - Steve began his photography career in 1981 and soon went to work for a portrait studio that sought to venture into the commercial and illustration aspect of professional photography.  Sherman studied and trained in large film, lighting and ad agency assignments but grew tired of client demands made not only on his time but also the freedom to express his love of the environment through photography.  By 1985 Sherman’s Large Format black and white work was represented for 6 years by the prestigious Robert Klein Gallery in Boston, later by the First Street Gallery In Boca Baton, FL. and is currently represented by the Paul Paletti Gallery in Louisville, KY.

In 1987 Sherman was asked to lend his name and endorsement with other notable Large Format photographers on behalf of Agfa-Gevaert Corporation in support of Portriga Rapid Silver Gelatin paper in national ad campaigns.  His photographs are in private collections on four different continents worldwide and have been purchased by the University of Louisville Photo Archives.  Sherman has enjoyed one-man exhibitions in Canada and the United States.

Sherman has authored numerous technical articles for View Camera magazine; his work has been published in the Professional Photographer, Petersen’s Photographic and Outdoor Photography.  In 2003 he discovered and perfected what is now known as the Minimal Agitation technique of processing roll and sheet film, which yields contrast relationships between deep shadows and delicate highlights never before possible through organic film processing methods.  His understanding of split contrast printing using only blue and green filtration in concert with minimally agitated negatives has yielded prints drawing one unsolicited critique from regular magazine writer and reviewer Michael Mutmansky in June 2015.  “If you ever get a chance to see his silver images in person, do it, because they are (IMHO) the most masterfully printed silver gelatin prints that I have seen from ANY printer, alive or dead, and I've seen a lot. This is not hyperbole.”

Sherman has taught Wet Process Workshops throughout the United States and Canada for over 25 years.  In his ONE on ONE workshops, he has taught his Power of Process to photographers who have traveled from Canada, Great Britain, France and South America and across the United States.  He brings an uncommon fundamental how and why something works so that students draw on understanding and knowledge rather than relying on memorizing the great amounts of new information received from instructors during short-term workshops. You can connect with steve on his website at and

-Tim Layton

The Darkroom Underground is your analog photography magazine produced on a quarterly basis serving photographers, artists, collectors, and readers around the world.  The Darkroom Underground publishes a balance of technical and creative articles in every issue along with featured photographers and their portfolios. We are pleased to offer editorial from internationally recognized photographers and writers and also publish articles and portfolios from our readers. 

If you like this type of article then you will probably enjoy my free darkroom newsletter and my darkroom and large format video-based workshops

Tim Layton
B&W Fine Art Analog Photography
Darkroom Underground Magazine:
© Tim Layton Sr. | All Rights Reserved



I am going to set up a darkroom in my house. We are in a septic system. Are there any developing chemicals that are less "chemical" and safe for septics? Or are there any other precautions I can/should take? Or is having a septic a total no-go for darkrooms? Appreciate your input.
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